Sunday, June 28, 2015

Positive Asian American Male Role Models

It's been a while since I blogged here. However, the time is right to make a return and comment on a pressing issue. On a Facebook group that I participate in, someone discovered an e-book that was being sold on Amazon. The author was an Asian-American male who wrote the book in an attempt to teach Asian (and other) males how to get Hong Kong girls to have sex with them. A lot of females members from the Facebook group took offense at the book and started a petition to have the book (and others promoting the same general idea) removed from Amazon (see below):

Ban Books Advocating the Sexual Exploitation of Women in Asia

However, there are some Asian-American males who have vocally opposed this petition.  They feel that Asian-American males are oppressed enough in the media and this book (among other things) will serve as a positive encouragement for males.

As a Asian American male, I have to respectfully disagree with my brethren.  I fully understand that Asian males don't have the most positive image in the media and in public.   Despite the negatives, Asian American males are still dating, getting married and having kids.  So if some males can overcome why not others?

Why do we want to support something that makes our Asian sisters (who may be our friends, sisters, mothers, etc) be objects to conquered instead of being treated as real people?  We can do better than that.

Instead of allowing these books to be out there, Asian American males need to be better role models around our friends, families and communities.  If you the talent and skill to go beyond your local community (think Wong Fu Productions, KevJumba, etc) that's even better.

The way to a better life is not to take things at the expense of others.  Instead, be an positive and encouraging role model and you'll see it will take you much further than some book on sex will.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple Days Of Innovation Are Over? History Doesn't Seem To Agree.

This is a note I posted on a local newspaper website that I wanted to share: 


I'm hardly an Apply "fanboy" in that I proclaim Apple to be untouchable. I do have a Mac Computer, iPad and iPhone but don't hate it if people want to use other stuff. Heck, I use Windows and Blackberry for work! 

I am a bit of an Apple historian though. I grew up using an Apple IIe (1980's baby!) and quite familiar with Apple's history before and after the Apple IIe. Apple's history has always been "to innovate" with some product and then build on it incrementally.

The Apple I was nice but it was the Apple II that really took off. While Apple added some things over time: Upper / Lower Case keyboard, Disk Drives, More Memory, etc, the basic Apple II features hardly changed for the better part of a decade. The Apple II graphics and sound capabilities that existed in 1977 were the same capabilities that went through the Apple II+, IIe and IIc. It wasn't until the Apple IIGS was introduced in 1986 that there were significant upgrades to features.

The original Macintosh was like that as well: Mac 128, Mac 512, Mac SE. There were a couple of desktop Mac's, then the Performa line.

It wasn't until Jobs introduced the colorful iMac's that the computers got a huge makeover. The MacBook Air was well received but these days are just getting some makeovers.

These days, Apple is just doing the same thing everything. The iPods, iPhones, iPads and computers are in the "let's update incrementally mode". At the end of the day, nothing wrong with that.

Is Apple's days of innovation over? We won't know for a while but let's not discount them. Apple has a history of innovation (most of it with Jobs). However, I have faith that someone will step into the role in time.


I'll add that people are expecting way too much for any company to continue innovating.  Maybe I'm from an older generation but at the end of the day, I just need an iPhone to make calls.  The rest are just perks.  That's why I still have an iPhone 4.  If I do need the newer model then I will move to a newer model. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Xanga: The End Of The Road?

Once a upon a time, if you wanted to connect with friends on the Internet, you likely would use Friendster or MySpace for your Social Media needs.   You were also likely to visit these two sites using a Netscape browser.  If you were a geek and wanted to create a free website, you might use GeoCities.

If you wanted to blog, there was really only one major choice:  Xanga.  Not to confuse it with the mobile gaming company Zynga.

Today, Friendster and MySpace are after thoughts with Facebook dominating the Social Media scent.  Netscape was overtaken by Internet Explorer and later discontinued though Firefox lives on as a descendant of the original Netscape.   GeoCities was closed down several years ago by Yahoo.

The lone holdout is Xanga as the site has quiet chugged on since it's founding in 1999.   However, Xanga is hitting a crossroads.  The site isn't well known these days and the company cannot afford to sustain operations.  They initiated a fund raising champaign to raise $60,000 to move Xanga to the WordPress platform.  Additionally, to sustain the site, they are asking users to pay for subscriptions.   Unfortunately, the effort ends tomorrow (July 31st) and Xanga is still short about $13,000.

Check on their fund raising effort here:

Xanga Crowdhoster

If Xanga cannot raise the $60,000 by tomorrow, the site will shut down.  If this happens, it will be a shame and also be the end of an era.  Xanga was the first blog for many people during the early 2000's. I signed up and blogged first the first time in August of 2004 and my last post was in July of 2006.   Xanga's entire situation got me to review my old Xanga blog which is located here:

Coach41's Xanga Blog

In looking through my old blog, I was surprised at some of my writings.  I had forgotten that I had blogged about some of my basketball experiences during those times.  While the writing isn't great, I am going to try and archive them for future reference.

I also remember that I chose NOT to talk too much about my personal life on my Xanga blog.  I had felt people were revealing a little too much on their blogs (at that time anyway).  My tune hasn't changed too much even as I blog today.  I'll talk about some things in general but I choose not to reveal too many personal details.

If Xanga is forced to shut down, it will be a shame but it is the nature of the Internet.  Even though Facebook is big now, there is always the possibility that another site will become dominant in the future.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Internet Circa 1995

I was posting a message on Google Groups (more on this later) today and it got me to thinking to my "history" on the Internet.   Believe it or not, I'm been using the Internet in one form or another for EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS!  

How I got onto the Internet is an interesting story.   After I had graduated from high school in the early 1990's, I went to a junior college.  One of good friends went to a four year university in the East Coast. My friend and I wrote (!!!) letters and chatted on the phone fairly frequently.  Among the things I found out from my friend was something called email.  My friend told me it was a fast way of sending messages electronically.  I don't remember if I understood the concept at the time.  However, it did fascinate me to the point where I looked around my junior college to see if I could find out more.  Alas, I didn't know anything at all about email or the Internet so I never asked anyone. 

When I transferred to a four-year university a couple of years later, life was easy.  The school advertised that people could sign up for an e-mail or Internet (forget what the school said) account.  After registering for classes, I signed up quickly for an account and I was now officially "on the Internet and using email".  

Initially, I couldn't login from home as my computer didn't have a modem (what's that you ask?  A device you connect to your phone line to get your computer to get online ).  So I spent a great deal of time at the school computer labs playing on the Internet.  I was reading news, chatting online and participating in group discussions. 

Does it sound like what a lot of young people do today?  Yes, but there are some major differences.  While computers were out with mice (Windows 3.1 / MAC), you had to establish a connection to a school server to actually get your email (telnet or dial up from home).  The server is UNIX (a computer operating system) drive, which did not have a graphical interface.   Thus, you had to be very comfortable with typing commands to get around the UNIX system. 

I used an application called PINE to read my email.  These days everyone is using some form of web email (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc) or Outlook.  Back then, PINE was the primary choice though I think you could use some email clients though I don't remember exactly.  

At school, I had a choice of using Mosaic (an early web browser) or later Netscape 1.0 on the school computers to get on the Internet.  The Internet back in 1995 was primarily text with STATIC graphics.   No YouTube, Amazon or even ESPN.  There were no MP3's, Flash or any type of streaming video.   

After a while, hanging out at school all the time proved tiresome so I eventually got a modem to connect my Apple IIe to the school UNIX system.  I used a 300 baud modem initially but upgraded to a 2400 baud (!!!) modem later on.  I was now able to get my email at home.  Alas, I could not use a Mosaic or Netscape in this manner.  I was limited in what I could do.  I could get online using a text browser called Lynx.  

Later on I started using something called Usenet.  Usenet is a discussion group that focuses on a specific topic.  Think of anyone of the online website forums you may participate in today, except my groups were all text based.  I participated in many groups from basketball,  TV shows, music, and a few others. 

Usenet, for many reasons I won't cover here, has lost popularity as the modern Internet has grown.  However, Google Groups allows people to use the Usenet via a graphical interface.  Thus, I have been able to continue to participate in a basketball and computer group that I first started using back in 1995!  

It was a discussion on the BASKETBALL (not the computer) Usenet group that convinced me to write all of this.  There are a few people on the Basketball Usenet group that have been on there with me for the past 18 years.  We had some good discussions about the years we have spent in the group. 

The Internet has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 18 years.   While a lot of the advancement is great for everyone, a part of me missed the innocent old days.  Those were definitely some interesting days.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why I Don't Post Statuses and Check In On Facebook As Much As I Did Before

When I first joined Facebook years ago, it was cool to constantly provide status updates and "check in" at the various locations you went to.  It got to the point where some of my friends commented to me:  "You are on Facebook a lot".

Fast forward a few years and the novelty of checking in and updating your status has faded.   While I still occasionally checked in or provided a status update if I was at a cool place, I otherwise refrained from posting too much.

In discussing my new attitude with my friends, there were actually benefits to not posting so much on Facebook.  The main benefit?  SECURITY!

What do I mean?  If you post that you're at a certain location, that means YOU are not home.  While your friends will probably not take advantage of this situation, Facebook (and other accounts) can get hacked.   Hackers could take advantage of Facebook and figure out where you live and perhaps do something.

I am posting this because a close friend shared that there was an attempted robbery at their house recently.  While the robbery had nothing to do with Facebook (as far as I can tell), you need to take as many precautions as possible.

There have been a lot of home invasions / robberies recently in the Bay Area and it's better to be safe than sorry.  In the case of my friend,  they are ok and nothing was stolen.  Thank heaven for small favors.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Psy (Gangnam Style) - Unexpected Asian American Superstar

If you've been living under a rock or some remote island without Internet access, it may be news to you that there's a major new dance sweeping the world by South Korean rapper Psy:

Gangnam Style - Psy

I had read about the song when it was released in July but I never really paid attention.  As much as I like reading things, I'm not the most up to date on the latest pop culture.   I finally gave in and checked the song / video when it had just hit over 100 million views.  I thought it was a bit silly but as a fan of dance music, it had a bit of charm that made me wanted to listen to it.

Initially, I admit that I compared Psy to American Idol's William Hung.   The only reason I noted that was no other Asian-American born individual performed has garnered as much attention as Psy did.   William Hung was liked (sort of) because of geeky nature and not because of he had great musical ability.

Upon further research though, I found that I was incorrect in my comparisons.  Psy is a well known rapper in South Korea and had released six total albums.   In watching some of his other videos lately, he has a bit of swagger about him and at least one of his other songs is pretty good.

What was most surprising to me was that Psy went to college in the United States.   Thus, his English is very good and he gives great interviews.   He is down to earth but has a great sense of humor and doesn't mind making fun of himself.

There has been a push by South Koreans to push K-POP into the United States but most of the efforts have been only mildly successful.  Psy probably doesn't fit the traditional mold of K-POP but that may be exactly the reason why he has broken through.  Gangnam Style has a charm that has obviously caught on.  But like Yao Ming in the NBA, Psy's ability to express himself in English will endear him greatly to the world.  For many Asian born performers, their lack of English skills hinder them a bit as something always gets lost in the translation.  Psy will not have that problem.

Psy doesn't quite realize it yet, but he has given Asian-Americans a face in the entertainment industry that has been sorely lacking.  The Far East Movement had succeeded previously but I don't think they have garnered world wide attention as Psy did in the past few months.

To be fair, Psy is Korean born and I doubt he will be speaking on Asian-American issues anytime soon.  But an Asian face hitting the top of the charts around the English speaking world is definitely note worthy.   Let's hope that Psy is not a one-hit wonder and he can continue to be in the public eye for years to come.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Facebook At It's Best

Facebook is definitely a popular social media website but it garners it's share of criticism for it's privacy policies.   From a personal perspective, I've had a Facebook account for many years now.  Originally, I thought it was cool to "check in", post status messages and various other things of interest.

These days, I do not "check in" anymore.   I found that friends don't really care where you are at.   Plus, by "checking in" you are exposing that you are NOT HOME.    Not that my friends are going to do anything, but if someone got into a friends account, you never know what might happen.

I will occasionally post a status message if I feel the need to.  But the only remaining thing I do frequently is post links to items of interest.  I may post videos, news articles or even my own blog articles.  I use Facebook as way to share things that others may be interested in.

One really cool thing that I found recently is the use of Facebook groups.  The groups have been around for a while but I think Facebook may some changes recently which made them more useful.  When you are a part of a group, you get notifications of people posting items in the group.  I've started a few different groups and part of a few others.

All of the groups have a specific theme that ties the people together.  For example, I started a group for a company that I used to work for.  I had a lot of former co-workers as my friends and added them to the group.  From the 80 or so people I started off with, the group jumped to some 150 members a few days later as other folks added more people.

There was a surprising amount of people contributing to the group with memories of their employment histories.  Plus, all of the postings were read by a significant amount of people.   I believe I have found the secret of Facebook.  It's not about reading all of your friend's news feed constantly.  It's not about playing Mafia Wars or other games.

It's about CONNECTING people, but not superficially.   Just having your timeline, reading the newsfeed and other things doesn't mean you're connected to others.  Using groups where people can share of their shared experiences is what Facebook should be about.

Beyond the group for my former company, I had some groups for several basketball leagues I was part of.  I had a chance to share some old photos that I had saved.  Thus the groups not only allow us to share memories but preserve some of the history of things as well.